Fractals are a series of shapes and structures that reveal themselves infinitely as you zoom into them. Mathematically self-similar, they are objects that are defined exactly or similarly to a part of themselves:
Far from occupying the realms of the abstract, fractals can be observed everywhere in nature as the universal frequency of life itself. These irregular shapes are found in cloud formations, in the blood vessels within our bodies, the recurring patterns that are seen in the beautifully trippy romanesco broccoli or in the seemingly chaotic formation of mountain ranges.
Mathematics has allowed science to map out how everything around us is rooted in a geometric truth. Where the irregular becomes more regular so that we can finally make sense of the cluster of galaxies that have mesmerised us forever.
As fractals go, the Mandelbrot set is perhaps the most famous mathematical object of them all. Bug-shaped and peculiar, it was displayed on computers in 1980 by Benoit Mandelbrot of IBM, who showed, just like tree branches that continue to branch out into smaller and smaller branches, that there was a degree of order to the bedlam we see before us – as all moves forward through a slow explosion of life itself.
Fractal geometry may have come to the attention of the science community in the 1980s, largely thanks to this tremendous leap forwards in computer technology, but fractals have long been considered sacred. They have appeared in Mandalas, the religious art of the most ancient eastern belief systems, provoking the wonderment of almost touching upon the nature of God.
Recently in the U.S., there has been a tremendous clamouring for the pursuit of finding God through psychedelics. Jews, Christians and Muslims have fought together to decriminalise psychedelic substances such as psilocybin and cannabis so that they may explore their spirituality, as they believe, their ancestors once did. Their wish to gaze into their kaleidoscopic interior worlds is not only backed by archaeological evidence that, from the beginning, psychedelics have been central to religious practice around the world. The legal use of psychedelics’ potential to treat psychiatric conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction is also helping open the doors to all kinds of possibilities.
The question is do drugs help enable you to see fractals? Under the influence of LSD, psilocybin, mescaline and particularly DMT – clearly so.
When scientists have delved into the staggering investigation of the neural origins of consciousness, they have found unsurprisingly, that psychedelics increase the complexity of brain activity. Volunteers on psychedelic drugs are able to describe the effects on their internal and external senses, their vivid hallucinations, their perceived sense of self and the emotional states of euphoria and anxiety that they experience.
Using MRI neuroimaging it is possible to see that in waking consciousness brain activity is below what is considered a critical zone between order and disorder. Under the influence of psychedelic drugs, the entropy of brain activity increases – pushing the brain system over the edge into this critical zone. The system then becomes disordered and reorganised. Certain brain regions that do not normally interact in waking life then begin to do so with each other. Most interestingly, it is not only the brain’s physical structure that is fractal. The patterns of brain activity also display a pronounced fractal character that increases on psychedelics. Our thoughts spiralling.
The effects of DMT have been described as leaving the space-time of the world that we know, to be suddenly transported into another dimension; an alien world unrecognisable to our own. A total immersion into the fractal universe of astonishing geometry where consciousness exists outside of the body. Beyond a dream-like state and to the zero point of vivid truth, ‘MY GOD, MY GOD, MY GOD’ you might say. This drug that occurs naturally in our brain or in plants is the strongest of all the psychedelics of all, where weird and peculiar entities speak to you – with love, inside an eternal realm that is scintillating, transforming and alive. It is the delivery of shattering truth where you get to understand life and death in a way you can only carry and not describe. How you become part of the other side and beyond the reason of anyone who has never taken DMT.
If we look to the genesis of our existence, reduced to that very moment of the point of creation, we may regard fractals as the hand of God – at the divine heart of everything. Humbly, our part in the universe in this context is little different from the way a small flower blossoms or to the magnificent formation of a whole coastline along a continent. God is generated within us and throughout us in this way. This is the divine force of creation that any religion merely touches upon.
Taking psychedelics allows us to move from the ordinary world into the unordinary just as we go from sleep to REM sleep and from this conscious life into the next. It is simply part of the process. Fractals, in this way, could be the very closest we ever come to seeing God magnified forever and with infinite precision. In turn, we are but God and ourselves spiralling outwards into the ultimate lightness of atoms dispersing, as we always have been.